episode Boundaries LISTEN01

Usually this blog is about radio.  I will post something this week in regards to media.  However, I wanted to post this podcast because this is something we all deal with, especially in radio.

Janet and I just recorded this podcast cast.  Today’s program is “Boundaries.”  Every one that is reading this needs to hear the program.  Without boundaries in your marriage you are at risk.  Today’s topic is very close to the heart of both Janet and me.  We believe in boundaries in our marriage.  We believe in protecting what God has given us.  I am encouraging each of you to listen to this podcast and also share it on your FaceBook and Twitter.

HUGE FAVOR:  After listening to the program, would you place go to iTunes from your computer (CLICK HERE) and RATE and REVIEW the podcast.  When we get enough reviews iTunes promotes the podcast all over their platform.  So many marriages are hurting.  This is a great tool and Janet and I would be forever grateful if you would review the program.  You will see a picture below of what you will see when you go to iTunes.

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Janet and I share stories from our marriage.  Our goal is for you to see what we have gone through, what we have learned and provide tips for your marriage. You can also listen at hour web site at Reality at Home.

Have a wonderful week.

Bill Scott

My Station Sucks

September 8, 2014 — Leave a comment
Bill Scott

Bill Scott

 

You might be thinking, “Bill, has anyone really said that?”  The answer is yes and you know what, that’s ok.  Everyone has to begin at some point and you need to be ok with starting small, just don’t settle for where you are at.

I have traveled the country, visited more than 100 radio stations.  I have sat in some of the most beautiful studios and in the back of garages.  Let me encourage you with a few examples of how God has taken small ministries and done wonderful things with them over the years.

Wwordfm_logo (1)ORD FM:  I’ll never forget Dave Kirby and I going to visit Dave Baker at WORD FM for their first fundraiser.  The studios were in the back of a garage.  Today many years later, they are a major player in the Northeast with wonderful studios.

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 11.53.11 AMWGCA: The first time I met Bruce he asked me if I wanted to go to the meat truck first.  I had no earthly idea what he was talking about.  We arrived and it was a meat truck trailer sitting under a tower in a corn field.  The trailer still had the meat hooks hanging inside.  Over the years WGCA has grown to be a great radio station, making a wonderful impact on their community and have amazing studios.  As a matter of fact I am doing their fundraiser this Thursday and Friday.

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 11.50.21 AMWAY FM:  I went to work for WAY FM in Fort Myers, their only station at the time.  I remember Bob Augsburg telling me at times, don’t buy anything, we have no money.  After more then two decades, WAY FM has grown to be a major network impacting the nation with beautiful studios in many cities.

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WPER: For years Frankie and the gang have broadcasted out of a double wide trailer in Northern VA.  They have been faithful and in the next few weeks are moving into their own 5,000 square foot building that is state of the art.

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 11.52.27 AMKLRC:  I began working with Sean and the team 20 years ago.  We started in what we called a big closet.  It was so small, every time I turned around my butt cleaned the windows LOL.  I watched them move out of that very small space, two rooms, to their own building on the campus of John Brown University.  It was a very old building but it was a huge improvement.  Just a couple of years ago, they moved off campus to one of the coolest studio’s I’ve ever seen, not to mention winning the station of the year a couple of times from CMB.  All of that to say, they were faithful in the small things so God has given them more to work with.  It didn’t happen over night, it’s been two decades.  Sean was ok with being small but didn’t settle for where he was at and neither did his team.

I could continue to tell you story after story.  All of the above began with very humble beginnings.  They had to learn to be ok with that but not settle for where they were.  Beyond that they needed a plan.   Here are 5 tips that will help you get started.

  1. Define the vision of your radio ministry in writing.
  2. Put together a 1 year plan and a 5 year plan.  If you want to go crazy, map out the next 10 years.
  3. Write down some baby steps you and your team can take.  Some times we want to go from A-Z and become so overwhelmed because that simply isn’t possible, so we do nothing.
  4. Bring someone in from the outside to take a look at your organization and begin to coach you through the process.  I don’t care who you are, outside coaching is something your station needs.
  5. Not least but last, build a team.  Unless you actually are leading a team you’ll never make great strides.  I love team building.  I’m talking to a station about helping their staff become a team so they can do great things in the future.

Be ok with where you are, but don’t settle.  As you begin the journey I think you’ll be surprised at what God will do for your station over the coming years.  Be faithful to your calling and impact your community.

If you ever need help with your station, I would love to partner with you.  Contact me.

CMB HandShake

September 1, 2014 — Leave a comment
Bill Scott

Bill Scott

The CMB conference is the largest of its kind for Christian radio.  It’s awesome to attend, learn more about radio and of course catch up with old radio friends.

So do you know what the CMB handshake is?  My guess is some of you already have it figured out.  It’s when you are shaking someones hand while looking around them to see if there is someone more important you should be talking to.  Be honest, you’ve seen this happen or have actually done this yourself.  To be honest, I am sure that I’ve done this once or twice.  So I have two words for this years CMB in regards to the official handshake, “STOP IT.”  Networking is so important, I get that but let’s show each other some respect and really enjoy getting to know someone new in our industry or catch up with an old friend…even if they don’t have anything to offer us other than good conversation.  

Can I encourage you to look for someone to minister to?  Some of those attending CMB this year will be hurting.  It could be their personal life, perhaps their station is going through challenging time etc…  Look for the chance to take someone out for coffee.  You might be the encouragement they need during the conference.  Look for a chance to offer wisdom or just pray for them.  Perhaps find someone you can help mentor through the upcoming year.

Let’s make sure this fantastic week we’ve been given isn’t all about show biz.  We are called to minister to our communities to spread the love of Christ.  We are attending to learn how to do that better, how to be great stewards of what God has given us.  Enjoy the fun, the gifts, seminars and at the same time be looking for ways to encourage one another.  Let’s go home educated, inspired and with a special touch from the Lord.

Let me close with a funny top 10 list that Dave Kirby and I put together for you this year.

CMB TOP 10 LIST:

10. The Sneak Peak: You know….. it’s where you walk up to someone, you know them but forgot their name, so carefully you try to look down to read their badge.  You always get caught!

09. The Pitiful Look: This always comes from those who didn’t book in time and they are staying at the Beach Club.

08. The Non Fan Look:  You are sitting in the lobby and your favorite artist walks passed you…… you try to look as those you don’t notice them and it’s not a big deal.

07.The Lobby Dwellers:  You know…the ones who never actually go to any of the sessions.  Oooops

06. The Undercover Drinkers:  They try to find a place to grab a beer and yet have no one see them.

05. The Disappointing Box Lunch:  All of the new CMB folks are so excited for the amazing lunches at the conference only to realize it’s a box lunch.

04. Double Booked:  You realized you have booked yourself for two lunch meetings at the same time.

03. The Night of Joy Rip Off:  You bum someone’s CMB badge so you can get your kid into Night of Joy for free.

02 The Record Company Secret Club:  It’s were the record company has a secret album listening party during the CMB sessions and you are swore to secrecy.

01. To Cool for School:  These are the people that always stand in the back because they are too cool to actually sit at a table.

Engage Your Listeners

August 26, 2014 — Leave a comment
Bill Scott

Bill Scott

Most of the time radio is background noise.  This is the reason we have to repeat everything many times over.

When it comes to your fundraising event, you have limited time to get your listeners attention.  Think about the competition your station has even when the radio is on.  Your listeners have kids in the car, they are receiving text messages, pictures, talking on the phone and the list goes on.  Gone are the days when the listeners got into the car and they were all ours for the full commute.  

Pattern interrupters are your biggest friend.  What do I mean by that?  I mean do something you wouldn’t normally do on your station.  If your fundraiser sounds just like your normal on air sound, more than likely your listeners are not paying attention.  You have to jolt them back into listening.  At times I’ll let the song run out, so it’s not the normal stinking tight radio we were all taught to do.  After that I might begin the break with, “I bet you didn’t wake up this morning thinking you would be a hero?”  Engage your listener quickly, get them thinking.  Don’t be afraid to have the long awkward pause on the radio.  Again, you are trying to jolt them back into paying attention.  Ask them a question so they have to respond at least with their thinking.  It works and it works really well.

At times hype will get your listeners attention.  It has to be real hype, nothing fake.  If you have something exciting, rock it.  At times having a ministry hour during your event is exactly what’s needed to get your listeners attention.  Here’s a great example.  At a station this spring, 8am, morning drive, I decided instead of the normal crazy high paced morning drive fundraising sound, we would go for a ministry hour.  I really felt this was the right move for the event.  We called it our hour of faith.  The hour included stories of those who had stepped out by faith, scripture about faith etc…  This is not a name it and claim, mark it and park it hour but it is about faith.  The end result, a number of friends called in with a faith gift and 20 percent of the goal was raised in that one hour, $165,000.  The ministry that took place during that fundraising was absolutely amazing.  We engaged the listeners and the pay off was huge.  At one fundraiser I was at we gave away an 80 inch TV that was donated and again, we got the listeners attention and the end result was incredible.  Have fun and don’t be afraid to minister during your fundraiser either.

Don’t assume that your listeners are hanging on every word that you are saying.  Their life is busy, complicated, stressful and you are often background noise.  You have less than 10 seconds to engage your listeners with something of interest before losing them.

Living in the radio bubble it’s hard to imagine that our listeners can actually miss all the talk about your upcoming concert or even fundraiser.  My wife and I don’t live in the radio bubble and it’s really eye opening.  One of our local stations had one of it’s biggest events of the year recently.  Next to their fundraiser, I am sure this is their biggest event.  Some how I missed every promo, every announcer talking about the event, any interviews related to this huge event.  I only knew it was happening because someone posted on facebook.  I asked my wife if she had heard anything about this wonderful event coming and she hadn’t heard anything about it either.  In all fairness to the station, I am sure they played promos, they talked about it until they were blue in the face, my guess is they did interviews, perhaps a big contest surrounding the event.  All I am trying to say is, even though I have the radio on, my phone rings, I am talking to my wife, I have kids in the back seat of my truck and to be honest, the radio station is just background noise unless you engage me in some manner.  

All of this to say, plan your breaks for your fundraiser.  Engage your listener quickly.  Remember, you are competing with life and that’s a huge competitor.   

Ben Milton

Ben Milton

You know the old question about a tree falling in the forest?  My radio version of that is “How do you call yourself Radio Disney if you don’t have any radio stations?”  I know, they still have 1 FM in LA but the recent decision to shed 23 of its terrestrial signals begs the question, are they still in the “Radio Business”?  More importantly, are you still in the “Radio Business”?

My reaction when I heard the news wasn’t that of dismissal or justification for keeping the FM signal that the station I work for has.  It was “What do they know I don’t?”  This is Disney we are talking about.  They own some of the biggest names in content.  We are talking about the guys who own Star Wars, Marvel, ESPN and so on.   Why would they shed a distribution system for their own content in such a dramatic fashion?

The answer came to me as so many answers come to me, in the form of research.  Not my research.  Not the research of any of the industry insiders I know or follow.  It came in the press release that Radio Disney put out.  There was only one number I needed to see and it all made sense.

18% of their listeners consumed their content via AM and FM.  That’s a telling number.  Not an insignificant number.  But with any research it’s important to not only look at the number but to look at the trend.  Numbers can lie.  Trends usually don’t.  I don’t know for sure but I believe that Radio Disney was watching that trend very carefully over the last couple of years.

I think what happened is Radio Disney watched that trend and decided it was no longer profitable to be in the “Radio Business”.  They decided they are in the “Content Business”.  I don’t blame them.  I want to be like them.  Who cares what technology you use as long as you have someone on the other end that finds value in it and consumes it?

I think we got so enamored with being in the “Radio Business” that we forgot it’s really about content and not delivery systems.  I don’t want to be in the “Radio Business” and foolishly insist that listeners find me on only 1 system that doesn’t necessarily match up to their lifestyles.  I think we should be aggressively looking at ways to get our content out to the public.  We have great personalities waiting to be discovered by people on a national and global level and yet limit ourselves to local terrestrial signals like they are life itself.  It’s about content not a delivery system.  If you have great content you should make it available to everyone.

I worked as an engineer for many years within the industry.  I wasn’t very good at it but I do know one thing, those transmitters and towers are expensive!  What if you were in Radio Disney’s situation and a majority of you listeners consumed your content on a platform that cost you a fraction of what that transmitter, tower lease, electric bill and engineer cost you?  From a purely business standpoint that sounds great!  Why shouldn’t we all be racing to make our internet claim?  The only reason is a stubborn failure to let go of a technology in favor of content.  We love being in the “Radio Business”.

I know it’s going to take a lot of work.  We have to figure out how to monetize and attract listeners.  But it’s being done already.  Until now we never had a company make a successful transition to the web and satellite.   Radio Disney has broken the 4 minute mile.  Rather than dismissing them as foolish we should seriously investigate how and why they made that transition.  Then take a good hard look at our own content and business model and decide what business we are in.

One of the great things about Disney is that their stories have happy endings.  I think they just warned us that being in the “Radio Business” is not going to lead to that picture perfect Disney ending.  Get back to making great content and get it out to as many people as you can.  We are all in the “Mass Media Business” aren’t we?

Ben Milton

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

If your station hasn’t begun to push electronic giving, you are way behind the curve.  The good news is it’s never to late to begin.  If you are already pushing for electronic gifts, this article will help you go to the next level.

Depending on who you are listening to, the following stats should encourage you to really push electronic giving.  For those donors who commit to sending you a monthly check, on average you receive 5-9 of the 12 checks you are hoping for.  With electronic giving it’s 12 out of 12 the vast majority of the time.  I hit up Jeff Scott, Sean Sawatzky and Kevin Krueger about how electronic giving has impacted their station.   I have to be honest with you, I am not really surprised by what they have written for us today.  I’ve been at every fundraiser KLRC has had over the last 20 years, I’ve known Jeff Scott for years and have worked with Kevin for over a decade.  I can actually remember when these radio guys decided to move toward electronic giving as their primary way of giving for their donors.

Jeff Scott, Manager for WBGL FM

Jeff Scott - WBGL

Jeff Scott – WBGL

“We receive 55% of our funds, electronically.  That includes EFT and credit cards.  Our retention rate is much higher because of electronic giving and we don’t experience the traditional “summer slump” in giving that we use to.  Both of our on air fund raisers have become more like friend raisers trying to engage new and lapsed donors.  Having a system that watches expiration dates and proactively notifies donors of their upcoming out of date cards is not only a service to the donor, but also imperative to a successful bottom line.”

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Sean Sawatzky – KLRC

Sean Sawatzky, General Manager for KLRC FM

“It’s hard to think of a single thing that has more positively impacted our giving program than electronic giving.  We’ve offered credit card, debit card, and bank draft giving for years, but it used to be a secondary payment method for us.  Today, when a donor calls during Sharathon, the assumption is that they’re going to give electronically.  We’ve adapted our software and phone volunteer training to make credit/debit card giving the first option we present donors after they’ve called to make a pledge.   In our most recent pledge drive, 78% of our monthly donors chose to give electronically.  This number has grown a little more every year.  There’s an increasing comfort level among consumers when it comes to paying for things electronically and this can translate into great benefits for ministries like ours. 

The first benefit is pretty obvious – our monthly fulfillment has increased significantly.  But, we’ve seen other benefits as well.  Remember those summer slump months?  Those are nowhere the challenge today that they used to be.  You know how hard we all work to get pledge renewals before our pledge drives?  We’re starting each Sharathon stronger than the last because electronic donors understand that they’re providing an ongoing, sustaining level of support – support that you can count on before the on-air portion of Sharathon begins.

The best part is that donors share in these benefits.  We’re better stewards of their gift because we’re not using the resources we once used in order to collect their monthly gifts.  Their monthly giving is greatly simplified and has an even greater Kingdom impact, which is why they’re giving to begin with.  It truly is win-win.”    

Kevin Krueger, Vice President/General Manager for WGTS FM

Kevin Krueger - WGTS FM

Kevin Krueger

“Making it easy for listeners to give monthly through a recurring EFT or CC donation has changed our ministry significantly. The huge “bumps” in the monthly giving chart coinciding with our on-air fundraisers have smoothed out a lot. This makes our accounting department happy and it makes me ecstatic. From a planning perspective it allows us to manage God’s funds more strategically. It provides stability.”

There are a few different ways you can encourage your listeners to begin transferring over to debit, credit card EFT during your events.

On-Air:  During your fundraiser you’ll want to use the term electronic giving, EZ Give or something close to that when asking for a monthly gifts.  I would strongly encourage you to make these on going gifts.  Why in the Sam heck would you put an end date on a donation?  You ask your listeners for monthly on going support that’s electronic.  You can assure them they have total control over their donation at any time.  Many of your listeners will put their monthly gift on card and never think about it again.

Call Center:  The volunteers in your call center play a huge roll in making sure the electronic giving actually takes place.  Keep in mind 80 percent of homes that have the internet pay at least one bill online and that was back in 2009.  Needless to say, electronic giving has gone mainstream.  So when your operator answers the call, have them ask the listener what card they would like to place that on?  It’s amazing how many people will grab a debit or credit card to make their donation.  If the listener requests to give by check, you of course can make that happen and everyone is happy.  One phrase comes to mind when I see an operator taking an electronic gift is, “Boom Shakalaka.”  That Hebrew for God has provided or just a weird Bill Scott phrase LOL.

Give Them Something:  Having a gift that is associated with a monthly electronic donation can really get people excited.  As a matter of fact I have an item today that your station should really, and again I say really, consider.  This could really help shape your next fundraiser for some great results for your electronic monthly giving.

The Ultimate Bundle:  I would give this awesome gift to each person that does $30 a month donation on credit card.  If they are currently giving by check, I would ask them to make the switch and the gift is theirs.  Here is the cool thing, it’s sent to them electronically, they can actually have their gift within 15 minutes of donating.  What is The Ultimate Bundle?  It’s $700 worth of timeless, modern and high-demand e-books and content.  This works with the IRS 2% rule as well.  I can explain that if you are interested when you call.  The great thing is you don’t have to pay for this until your fundraiser is finished.  More great news, the bundle only cost your station $10.40 and that includes the service and support to your donors.  Just think, an investment of $10.40 can get you a $360 credit card donation leaving your station with 349.60 profit and a donor who gives monthly on their credit card.  Keep in mind payment is not required until 24 hours after your fundraiser or after submitting a CSV list of your donors that you want to send the bundle too.  Your listeners info will not be shared with anyone, I know that’s a huge deal for your station.  I love it because this will encourage your listeners to give $30 a month on credit card or whatever price you set.  You don’t have to package and mail the gift after your fundraiser and you don’t have to pay for it before your fundraiser.  Look, I’ve done over 600 fundraisers at over 100 stations and when I saw this I got excited.  It’s not too late to tap into this before your Fall fundraiser.  Email me at bill@ShareMediaServices.com or just call my direct line at 615-525-5570 and I can get you all the info and have you signed up in no time.  I am personally excited to get out on the road to use this with clients this fall.   Let’s chat this week.  If you get my voicemail, just leave me a message.  As I write this, all I hear in my head is CHA-CHING!  I love tools that encourage your listeners to get involved with your station at a deeper level.

As we enter the Fall fundraising season, it shouldn’t be business as usual.  Lets look for things we can do in order to enhance your next fundraiser.  Little adjustments here and there can make a huge difference for your station financially.

Lets roll!

How To Beat KLOVE

August 11, 2014 — 3 Comments
Bill Scott

Bill Scott

Either you are dealing with KLOVE in your market or you are fearing the day that they’ll sign on.  Just about everyone realizes the growth that KLOVE and Air1 has seen over the last decade is  nothing short of amazing.  With tens of millions of weekly listeners, you must admit they are doing something right.  I would even go as far as giving KLOVE credit for raising the bar for Christian radio.  I think they have raised the bar so high it often makes others angry, feel it’s simply out of reach or live in fear of what it might do to their radio station.

So the question is this?  How do you beat KLOVE?  Can you actually beat KLOVE when they sign on in your market.  For many of you it’s not if but when they do.  I think the good news in today’s article is I believe not only can you survive but you can thrive with KLOVE in your market.

I’ve asked a couple of radio friends to write about their experience with KLOVE in their market and how they handled the challenge.  I think you can gain some real insight to their experiences.

Bill Sammons from the Bridge in DE.  ”Our station finally signed on the air in December 2010 after a 13 year process with the FCC.  Contemporary Christian Music was coming back to the area at 88.7 FM!   Three months later, it also came to 105.5 and 92.1 as KLOVE purchased two signals in our market from Clear Channel and we went from 0 to 3 CCM stations overnight.

At first, we kind of freaked out.  We were a new, small, locally-owned ministry with almost no cash.  And here comes the well-financed, experienced, major market sounding giants.  They were giving away personal concerts from artists that we couldn’t even get CD’s from.   How were we supposed to compete with that?

We soon realized KLOVE wasn’t our enemy.  Would we have preferred they not move into the neighborhood?  Of course.  

There is no way we can compete with KLOVE.  So we don’t try. We basically ignore them and work to program our station the best we can.  If anything, KLOVE has made us better.  They make us think about what we are doing every minute of the day…knowing that if what we are playing is not the best song or element, if it is not interesting and relevant, our listeners have the option to push a button and leave us.  That is the reality even if you do not have a KLOVE in your market.  KLOVE just forces us to realize it.  

KLOVE forces us to get out in the community.  To buy billboards and TV commercials.  To talk about local things.  To hire a meteorologist for local weather forecasts.  To be honest, we would do these things anyway….because I am not really competing against KLOVE.  I am competing against CAT Country, and Froggy 99 and Q105.  I want their listeners.  3 and a half years into this, our philosophy seems to be working.  Honestly, we no longer talk about KLOVE.  We rarely listen, never play songs just because they are and we are solidly beating them in the ratings in our ten county TSA.   Program your station to be a great radio station regardless of who else is in your market.  Be a good steward of your frequency and ask God to use you, and He will.”   

Kevin Kruger formally of Positive Life Radio in Walla Wally WA and currently Vice President/General Manager, WGTS 91.9 had this to say.

“Sometimes we need a new question. It’s easy to fixate on KLOVE if you’re a CCM station that’s been in town for years and they suddenly show up in town. It’s wise to be aware of market dynamics, but worrying all the time about what someone else is doing is energy and time not spent on making your station the best it can be. 

When KLOVE came to my town (years and years ago), it was hard. Many of our listeners initially left us for them. We looked carefully at our business model. We acknowledged that there were things KLOVE could do that we couldn’t. But we had passionate and very talented people in our building. We had a better understanding of the local market and sought external coaching to help us implement programming and community involvement to successfully compete. But our focus was not on beating KLOVE. Our focus was on being the best station we could be – being the station we felt God had called us to be.

To bring it down to specifics:

- we tweaked our AC playlist just slightly to specifically appeal to our local audience

- we implemented community service programs assisting trusted local organizations

- we pushed ourselves as on-air talent and sought outside help to improve ourselves

- we celebrated and gave extra attention to churches, businesses and listeners who loved us. When others saw what was happening, they came on-board.

- we acknowledged that it was short-sighted to believe that KLOVE was our main competition. In reality, the data told us that other mainstream stations were our main radio competitors and that in truth, our competition is anything that grabs attention – mind share – of potential listeners. 

Know your spiritual calling. Know your community. Research and discover a business plan and implement it with everything you’ve got. Be excited, after all, we get to do radio! Talk about a fun and rewarding career!”

My goal with today’s article is to help all those who are dealing with KLOVE or another Christian station in your market.  I felt it was only fair to reach out to KLOVE for some insight and the first name that came to my mind was Alan Mason.  

Alan Mason – KLOVE

“If you have a strong local tie to your listeners and community and a high level of professionalism, there’s nothing to fear from K-LOVE coming into your market.  A syndicated format out of California should never beat a local station with an emotional connection to the listeners.”

Alan nails it.  The problem is we are finding more and more local stations that don’t have a local emotional connection with their listeners and that is a huge problem.

I think at the end of the day, it’s not about beating KLOVE, it’s about being the best radio station that God has called you to be.  Asking God for a unique vision for your community and following after it with all the passion you have.  

If you play the KLOVE game you’ll lose.  Perhaps God has called you to a different game, one that will allow you to impact your staff and listeners in an unbelievable way.  I often encourage clients to turn off KLOVE and focus on what God has given you.   True you may have to change your ‘business as usual’ strategy, you may have to get some outside coaching and you may even have to work harder than before but at the end of the day you can win, not by beating KLOVE but by being the best you can be. 

Paul Anthony WAY-FM

Paul Anthony
WAY-FM

We have been told for a long time now that we need to tell our listener’s stories on the air. Why? Why do we share those awesome stories?

To answer that question, you might have to ask a couple of others to help get you to the answer. When do you share those stories? In what context do you share those stories?

How we answer those questions may lead us to our motivation behind doing it.

Years ago, radio ministries would have things like “Letter Month.” They wanted you to write to the ministry and tell them how that ministry affected your life. Oh and “be sure to include the call letters of this station.” Their purpose was to answer the question, “Is anybody listening?” They were also trying to evaluate what radio stations were having the most impact for them and, more often than not, it was tied to the support that ministry received from that radio market.

I think it started innocently enough, though. I am sure that God used a ministry to radically impact someone’s life. They felt compelled to write to the ministry and share what God did through that ministry. The ministry probably shared it with their staff and praised God for allowing them to be a part of what He was doing. They may have included the story in the next ministry newsletter…accompanied by a self-addressed envelope.

It’s a common strategy…use stories to raise funds.

My guess is that your station tells the most stories during pledge drives and that the rest of the year stories are always followed up with a reminder that “these stories only happen with your support of our ministry.” I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with that as long as we remember that these stories, first and foremost, are testimonies to what GOD HAS DONE. If our first response is to look at how we can use that story to fund-raise, then we are missing something very important. Sharing these stories should be more about giving praise to God then about giving our toll free donation number.

Let’s remember, as we head in to fall fundraising season, that God is doing some amazing things in people’s lives and every story is an opportunity for us to thank Him and praise Him first.

Paul Anthony

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

So your first thought is, has Bill been drinking?  The answer is no.  Over the last few years we’ve heard over and over that the music is everything.  I really want to challenge that thinking today.   This discussion came up today while having launch with another radio guy here in town.  I am sure Paul Anthony would prefer to remain anonymous,  so I’ll keep his name out of this article and just refer to Paul as a friend.

I had the privilege of being a part of Christian radio when stations began switching over to all music.  My first Christian radio station that I worked at full-time was in 1983.  WCIE was in the Tampa / Orlando area.  We played mostly music and very little talk.  That was unheard of back in 1983.  Not only where we playing mostly music but we were playing contemporary music.  A few other stations across the United States where beginning to do this as well, not many but the movement was growing.

If you were to attend a radio seminar back in the day, being a radio station playing contemporary music would have been the main discussion.  I don’t believe the conversation was “it’s All about the music”, it was about how we were going to use this new music format as a tool in order to reach younger families for Christ.  We had a vision for our community and those who lived in it.  Over the years we have gone from using the music format as a tool that helps us get the message of hope out to being our only product.  Just because you are a music station doesn’t mean you have a vision it means you have a product.

So what is your vision beyond the music?  Why are you a Christian music station?  There has to be a deeper reason why God has placed you in your community.  I am thinking God has raised your station up to be more than a juke box.  I get the fact that the music is powerful but what is the vision for your station?  Again, back in 1983 it was to use the tool of music to reach young families with the message of hope.  The music gave us a platform to raise food for the hungry, encourage the hurting, raising toys for the poor, bringing hope to those who needed to be set free.  Never was it just all about the music…music was the tool God gave us to reach the broken hearted.

Over the years our announcers have been reduced to those who give us the name of the song, time and temp.  We’ve encouraged them not to get in the way of the music.  No longer were they being challenged to be great story tellers, communicators and connecting with the listener in a life changing way.  We hear don’t stop the music, don’t talk too much, don’t share a story but play a song etc…get to the next hit.  I understand this is not 100 percent across the board but it is true for many stations.

I’m not here to say music isn’t important but we need to make sure we are using it as a tool in order to fulfill the vision God gave your station.  Lets not let a great tool that God has given us become our only product.  Your listeners are tuned into your station because they want you to encourage them in their faith, others who happen to hear your station, are looking for hope.  Nobody is confusing your station with the Top 40 station in town.  So lets not hide the hope we have for them and their family.  Have a vision that will change lives.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

Just for fun I thought I would throw this into my blog.  There’s a lot of interesting fundraisers that my friends and I have been to over the years.  I hope you’ll find some of them funny.  All true.

 

10.   When you leave the radio station, get to the end of the driveway and the radio signal begins to fade.

09.   When the station manager picks you up at the airport and says, “So this is what a plane looks like.”

08.   When the station manager meets you with you before the fundraiser and says, “It might be a good idea if you don’t ask for money.”

07.   When you arrive at the radio station and there’s only one telephone in phone central.  When asked why they don’t have more, the station manager response is, “We never had more than one call at a time before, so I figured that would be enough.”  Dave Kirby the fundraising host also found out there were no volunteers and he would be answering calls and hosting on air at the same time.

06.   When the station manager leaves his car for you at the airport.  You arrive and find out only the drivers door opens so you and your co-host enter from the drivers door during the event.  The managers response when you show up, “How do you like the car?  250,000 miles and doesn’t burn a damn lick of oil.”

05.  When the entire staff meets you at your hotel the night before the fundraiser to share with you they are walking out.  I begged them to wait until the fundraiser was over.

04.  When you call the station one week before arriving only to find out they just signed back on the air after being down for the last few months.  Someone at the station didn’t open the mail that was telling them there tower lease for their antenna wasn’t being renewed.

03.  When the manager comes in during the fundraiser and says, “This isn’t a bad response when you consider that only 3 out of ten bays is working on the antenna.”

02.  When you are asked if you want to go to the meet truck before going to your hotel.  As we pulled up I realized it wasn’t a meet truck but a MEAT truck sitting under the tower.  The radio station was located in the trailer of a meat truck with the hooks still hanging from the ceiling.  (This was a great event just wild where the station was located.)

01.  When the mid-day guy says, “You know Bill God can do anything, do you remember the time he talked through a donkey’s ass?”   Ok, game over LOL.

If you have stories, I would love for you to write them down and share them with us.